With the start of a new academic year, I find myself yet again on a quest for balance. After a summer of ample practice time, reading time, hiking time, as well as a general pace that made it easier to practice mindfulness meditation, I have returned, like many of you, to the fast-paced school year, running to and fro, pulled in many different directions. It is so easy to fall into old behavioral traps. With so many obligations, deadlines and demands, I find my brain is often three steps ahead of where I am, in this moment.
So, I’ve decided to simply notice this when it happens. When I’m practicing, if I find myself worrying or even thinking about what I need to be doing next, I take a deep breath and gently bring myself back to this place, this moment, this task. I do this hundreds, thousands of times a day. When I get home and I’m chatting with my daughter about how her day went, I find myself worrying about what I need to accomplish before the next day. Then I breathe, notice my thoughts, and bring my attention back to the moment I am living.
Turns out this mindfulness thing isn’t easy. But I am okay with being a permanent beginner (it’s one of the things I like most about myself). So I’ll keep trying to show up, inhabit my body, be present, exactly where I am in the present moment—all while continuing to grow and learn.